The rumors and sources stating that Dwight Howard isn’t going to renew his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t that trustworthy, but in any case, the best point guard and team he has the option to play with & for next season are Jeremy Lin and the Houston Rockets.
With Chris Broussard stating that Howard isn’t likely to be playing for the Los Angeles Lakers next season, the options of the Rockets and the Mavericks come up again. But Dallas are in a state of limbo, just like the Lakers, only with a lot more cap space. The Rockets, on the other hand, offer a young core that made the postseason last year, and has the potential to be a lot more than a first round postseason team if Howard arrives.
The main reason for Howard not wanting to stay, allegedly, has to do with Mike D’Antony and his system. It probably has to do with not meshing with Kobe Bryant as well, but not being the number one option on offense is probably the biggest thing ruining Howard’s enjoyment in LA. Howard depends on guards to feed him the ball, and while Steve Nash is still one of the top players you’d like as your teammate, Kobe Bryant makes the situation a lot more complicated.
Things haven’t been that different in Houston last season, but things will be changing. It seemed that Kevin McHale, with or without instructions from the top of the organizations, didn’t run much of a system last year. Mostly give the ball to James Harden and hope for the best. There were some set plays and stretching the floor, but the Rockets depended mostly on the mood, shooting ability and decision making of their star player, who averaged 25.9 points per game.
Where does Jeremy Lin fit? Supposedly a point guard, Lin was much more of an off the ball option, with Harden handling most of the possession. Lin got his chances to run the point, and the Rockets actually looked better for it. We’ve been through this plenty of times before. Lin is a better point guard than James Harden, not a better player, but the Rockets – their ball movement and spacing looked much better with Harden playing off the ball.
Kevin McHale has to make a change, and he probably will. Daryl Morey hasn’t shown any signed of intending to trade Lin. Patrick Beverley is a nice guy to have coming off the bench, but he’s a very one-dimensional player, not the kind you want running the point guard position 30 minutes a night. Lin is staying, and he’ll probably have a bigger role to play, especially if Dwight Howard arrives.
McHale was one of the greatest low post players in the history of the NBA, and while he’ll probably won’t be too involved with hands-on player development, he’ll surely love the opportunity to be coaching a premier center like Howard, with all of his limitations. And the best way to get Howard involved and keep him happy, which is important with a player you’re going to play over $20 million a season to, is giving him the ball.
James Harden won’t be doing that. Harden runs the attack on the fly quite well, but running pick & rolls and pushing the ball into the paint isn’t his thing. Lin? He did it with the Knicks, and he makes better decisions when it comes to choosing the best pass. Is he the next Steve Nash? Hard to say, probably not, but he needs more touches and looks for us to determine that.
As for Asik? If the Rockets can get Howard, Asik is trade-able. Getting a draft pick, more depth or the stretch 4 type of player so Parsons can stay at small forward is doable, and something the Rockets should do, because playing $30 million a season to two centers just doesn’t make sense.
The original Nash doesn’t have too much left in the tank, and so don’t the Lakers. Staying there means going through some sort of rebuilding process. The Mavs don’t have a point guard right now, and they won’t be able to give Howard the team-up with Paul they want so badly. Lin is the best point guard he can play with next season, and maybe for more than that. The Houston Rockets should be the choice he makes, once they officially give him an offer.